Developing Policy Solutions for a More Active Nation

Integrating Economic and Public Health Perspectives

Published In: Preventive Medicine, v. 49, no. 4, Oct. 2009, p. 306-308

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Sara N. Bleich, Roland Sturm

Read More

Access further information on this document at Elsevier B.V

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Both economic and public health/medical perspectives play an important role in the policy process but often approach policy questions in an incompatible way. Harnessing any synergy requires an understanding of the other perspective. The authors begin by comparing and contrasting the economic and public health perspectives, including introducing relevant economic concepts. They next identify economic considerations for the development of environmental incentives that promote physical activity. The authors then assess features of the political environment which could impact the success of policy alternatives aimed at increasing physical activity. The authors conclude with several policy levers that may promote active living. Throughout the manuscript, they use the term economics to refer to classical economics and utility maximization rather than behavioral economics. In addition, the authors focus mostly on normative economics (which offers prescriptions for what should be done) rather than positive economics (which offers predictions of economic outcomes conditional on various hypothetical scenarios).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.